Concept Maps For Assessment

The concept map paper starts off with a practical question:

How can we know if students develop a coherent and scientific understanding of the important concepts? Is it possible to produce a snapshot of this understanding? In this article we address these questions by sharing some practical tips for using concept maps as a way to monitor students’ understanding.

For now the paper is available here.

If you are interested in developing concept maps as a assessment tool this article is a great place to start.

EDU 7136 Students head on to teh comments section for your reflection assigment…

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16 thoughts on “Concept Maps For Assessment

  1. EDU 7136 Students – After having read the article, please head over to:

    http://www.scienceideas.org/concept-maps/index.html

    Pick a topic and a concept map. Then use the assessment guidelines from the article to develop a rubric for the particular concept map that you have chosen. Treat the downloaded concept map as your example, Consider how students might organize the same information. Use the general outline provided by the article:

    The complexity of the maps
    The existence of the most important propositions
    The quality of the propositions

    Finally describe issues that you think might arise in using concepts maps or that you came across in this exercise.

  2. Laura March
    Edu 7136

    Teaching has changed from years ago, concepts are not just taught as separate definitions to be memorized. Today students’ understanding is stressed, it is not the quantity of material taught but the quality, how well it is understood. Concept maps are ways for students to show the connection of and an understanding of the concepts taught. Concepts maps are also a way for teachers to see how well students are able to relate and organize information. Concept maps encourage students to reflect on their learning experiences.
    The article “Using (Concept Maps) in the Science Classroom” gave good guidelines for teachers who want to implement the use of concept maps in their classrooms. The teacher should first select the key terms that are related to the topic being taught, determine when to use the concept maps during the unit and have students’ use an open-ended concept map style. The article recommends and I agree with the idea that it is important to let students “redraw and revise” their original maps. The article also suggested ways for teachers to introduce the idea of concept maps to students who have never used them before. I liked the idea of using a practice topic that all your students should be familiar with (ex: music, car, baseball teams, etc.) and have them create their own concept maps and review them first in small groups and then later as a class.
    A very essential part of concept maps are the propositions. The propositions are key to assessing student understanding. The propositions are the words that describe the relationship (links) to the terms. Assessing concepts maps throughout the year is a good way to track student progress. In order to assess concept maps you need to develop a rubric that can uniformly be applied to the different student concept maps you may receive. The article spoke of a four-level rubric to assess the quality of propositions. I looked at the concept map entitled “Storms” and tried to apply the type of rubric to the concept map. The rubric I can up with is:
    0-Doesn’t show the connection of storms to changes in air pressure within an air mass.
    1- Doesn’t show the connection of storms to changes in air pressure within an air mass. Storms are classified as always having precipitation.
    2-Storms are caused by changes in air pressure within an air mass and can either be high or low pressure
    3-Storms are caused by changes of air pressure within an air mass which can either be described as high or low pressure. Also shows that only low pressure air masses produce precipitation.
    4- Storms are caused by changes of air pressure within an air mass which can either be described as high or low pressure. Also shows that only low pressure air masses produce precipitation and that there are different categories of storms (ex: hurricane, tropical depression, tropical storm. Concept map also shows the likely areas where these storms will occurs .
    The concept map I choose was very complex in my opinion. The map contained many terms and therefore had many branches and many propositions. I found it somewhat difficult to develop a rubric that would be able to assess the quality of all the propositions. I liked the idea suggested in the article of color coding propositions. Each color would represent a given amount of points (ex: 3=green, 2=blue, 1=yellow, 0=is no color) . I believe this is an easier rubric to use when you are assessing concept maps where you have given the students the terms to use. In this case all concept maps would contain the same amount of terms you would be concentrating on assessing only the student’s quality of the propositions used. This type of rubric many be difficult to use if you had given students free range on the terms to include. An example of a problem could be: a student who uses only six terms but correctly uses positions to link all of the terms and then having a student who uses twenty terms and correctly used propositions in most of the links but not all. How do you score these by the amount of terms used or by the quality of the prepositions? Which counts more?
    Overall concepts maps are a great tool for teachers to use in assessing student understanding. The show the ability of students to connect concepts and use higher-level thinking skills.

  3. Concept maps as we have discussed and read are a great tool to use in the classroom, especially when organizing information on a specific topic. With proper assessment tools, such as a rubric, we can really give our students a great opportunity to be a creator of a concept map which will help their understanding and clarity on a unit learned in class. Having read this week’s article on concepts maps, has given us a good way to assess concept maps which may be created by students and what we can look for in the maps which may guide teachers to understanding our students’ knowledge of the topic on hand (which then in return we can help our students with any deficiencies they may have).

    Looking through the various concept maps, I have chosen to further discuss the map on Clouds. I chose this concept map because I feel that this topic can certainly be aided with a visual representation such as a concept map. The article refers to the complexity of the map as something that can be easily noted which makes this a great starting point of assessment, so I will begin here. In my opinion, the concept map provided within the website is complex as it is a highly interconnected network. Secondly, this specific concept map shows an understanding of main ideas and connections within the unit of clouds as it contains the important propositions of clouds, such as types of clouds, the altitudes, as well as what each cloud may foretell about the weather. There is a great existence of important propositions, which is important because it shows a teacher that the student knows the main ideas of the topic on hand. The quality of propositions within this concept map on clouds seems rather high as it gives us a lot of information about the topic on hand. Once again, it provides the three major types of clouds, altitudes etc. which I feel makes it rather complete. Finally, I could assess the quality of propositions in accordance to the article’s guidelines, using the following rubric:
    0- Clouds are all the same regardless of shape, altitude or color.
    1- Clouds are different but each can has the same association with weather.
    2- Clouds are different and have associations with weather.
    3- Clouds are made up of tiny water droplets/ ice crystals. Depending on the thickness and altitude of the cloud color can change and weather conditions related to respective cloud can be produced. Some clouds can also result in the formation of smog or fog.

    I do not think students in an elementary classroom could produce such a complex concept map such as the one found in the website. Perhaps their concept map would be simpler as the article describes. I personally feel that students would perhaps have the different types of clouds and the characteristics of each of the different clouds (perhaps a web-like design). Another way students may have organized their information (especially in a higher grade level) would be to map out the stages of cloud formation and how it could result in the formation of different clouds and how those could result in specific weather conditions (perhaps a circular or linear design).

    Personally, I feel that concepts are a great way to create a visual representation of a topic learned and it helps organize information for students. Concept maps may essentially help students see all the main ideas and how the each are interconnected. I think it is a great way to differentiate instruction as we are integrating a tool that can be beneficial for those that are visual learners. The only issues that may arise is that there are different ways to create concept maps and when having students create their own map without giving them any specific format you will get different information, each student may be on their own page. It may be difficult to review this information as it may be very different for each child. Having said that, it helps individualize assessment so that you can uncover each student’s knowledge thus far as well as future needs to touch upon (ideas they have not properly understood).

  4. Concept maps are a great way for students to organize their thoughts and visualize connections/relationships. They are especially helpful in science because of its detail orientated nature.

    The topic and concept map I have chosen is “The Solar System” which is located here:

    http://www.scienceideas.org/concept-maps/Space/Solar%20System.pdf

    A rubric that can be used to assess this concept map is:

    0 – “Basics” of the solar system (planets + Sun) are incorrectly organized in a manner that does not make sense. (ie: the Sun is not at the center, planets placed with no rhyme or reason)

    1 – “Basics” of the solar system (planets + Sun) are correctly organized in a manner that makes sense. (ie: Sun is at the center, planets placed thoughtfully)

    2 – [1] + Planets are divided by relative location (ie: inner, minor and outer planets)

    3 – [1 + 2] + additional information: moons, composition of planets

    The complexity of the maps –> Complex > Simple
    The existence of the most important propositions –> Sun at the center
    The quality of the propositions —> Accurate details, thorough map

    While concept maps can be useful, certain issues may arise. While browsing through the maps, I realized that sometimes concept maps can further complicate a topic and/or introduce less important details. For example: http://www.scienceideas.org/concept-maps/Earth/Water%20Cycle.pdf. Even as someone who generally understands the water cycle, this concept map can be somewhat overwhelming. Perhaps that concept map could be broken down into multiple maps to make it easier to digest.

    I believe concept maps, especially for younger students, should start out simple and be built upon from there. This concept map progression may be helpful for older students as well, to help them grasp the concept step by step.

  5. Kerry Wright EDU 7136
    Dr. Gillespie Reaction Paper VII

    As a teacher I have used concept maps for teaching literacy skills. I have found them very useful to convey a concept to my students. I have never used the concept maps as an assessment tool or in other curriculum subjects, such as science. After reading the article “Using Concept Maps in the Science Classroom” by Jim Vanides, Yue Yin, Miki Tomitla and Maria Arceli Ruiz-Primo and our class discussion last week, I see how these maps can be effective to assess literacy and other subjects.

    As stated in the article, these maps can show us how students organize, connect and synthesize information. The article outlines a good approach to teaching the creation of a concept map. First teach your students how to do the map, have them create an individual map, have students work on these maps in small groups, and it is important to let the students revise their map in order to perfect their understanding of a concept. Lastly, have a class discussion to explain important propositions.

    Below is a rubric I developed to evaluate the linear map for the topic of matter from the article.
    • 0 – the map does not show links between the three forms of matter and its properties
    • 1 – The map shows the connection for as least 2 forms of matter and their properties.
    • 2 – The map shows the three forms of matter and the connection to its prosperities and forms of measurement.
    • 3 – The maps show the three forms of matter and its properties. There are also links between the three forms of matter to its similar properties.
    For the complexity of the maps I would give the linear map in the article a 1 because this student only showed two forms of matter. The existence of important propositions I would rate this map as 1 because I see some main ideas but some ideas are missing such as the third form of matter. The quality of the propositions or links on a map I would rate this as a 1 also. The student has some connections but the links are limited and do not show the interconnection between the three forms of matter.

    As stated previously, I have used maps in my classroom to teach literacy skills. In this case I have done the drawing and the students called out the ideas. I do have concerns that young students may have difficulty drawing a map from scratch. On a second grade level the students may have the ideas but I am concerned that the will have difficulty drawing the interconnections. However after reading this article, I am interested to try this concept in my classroom.

  6. Concept maps show relationships among different terms or concepts. Concepts are connected with arrows which explain the connection being made. These maps help students make connections and organize their knowledge. When evaluating concept maps, the first thing to look at is the complexity of the maps. Advanced students create more complex maps with complex networks, while other students choose to keep their maps simple. As a teacher, one should decide how complex they want the students’ concepts maps to be. I personally think it’s important to have very detailed concept maps that are in a simple structure, making it easy to read. The next thing to look at when evaluating concept maps is the existence of the most important propositions. The propositions on the concept map should be showing only important relationships. The students should be careful not to miss the essential connections. Connections should be important, and should not include erroneous information. The third thing to look for in evaluating concept maps is the quality of the propositions. A student may be able to indicate important propositions, but are the propositions scientifically meaningful? Students must be accurate and scientifically correct in their propositions.
    The concept map I choose is the Solar System. The follow is a rubric I created to evaluate this concept map.

    0 (Wrong)
    Leaves out important concepts of the solar system such as the sun, moon, or planets.
    Does not group planets into categories or show connections.
    Propositions are incorrect.

    1 (Partially correct/scientifically thin)
    Includes the sun, moon, and planets as part of the solar system.
    Does not group the planets or shows weak connections.
    Propositions are partially correct.

    2 (Scientifically correct)
    Includes the sun, moon, and planets as part of the solar system.
    Shows the groupings of planets and what they’re made of.
    Connections/propositions are accurate.

    Like the article suggested, I will also color code the student’s propositions so that they can see which ones they need to improve.

    There are a number of issues students may come across while creating concept maps. My group also came across some issues. One issue was trying to keep the concept map clear. It was difficult trying to organize the concept map in a way that was easy to read and understand. It can sometimes be difficult to create a simple easy to read concept map, that is also detailed and informative. Students should practice creating concept maps on concepts they are very familiar with in order to practice with the creating and structure of a concept map. Once students get the hang of concept maps, I believe it will really help them gain new knowledge. Concept maps are a great way for students to visually see connections. After creating concept maps, it’s important for the class to share their maps with one another and participate in group discussion. This will help students not only learn how to better organize their map, but also see important connections that they may have previously missed.

  7. While reading the article “Using Concept Maps in the Science Classroom” I began to see the benefits of concept maps, to both the students and the teachers. I had never heard of a graphic organizer or concept map until I observed a classroom teacher use one with her class. Still at that point a just viewed it as a tool the teacher was using to write down students response on the blackboard.
    After reading this article however I agree that concept maps are a good strategy for teachers to evaluate student understanding of a give topic. Teachers can use concept maps to visually see how students are organizing information and identify any misconception that may have occurred. They can then use this data to clarify their lesson. This is also a good tool for students because it gives them an opportunity to organize their thoughts on paper.
    The article recommends that teachers first familiarize students with the idea of concept maps as well as determining when in the unit to implement the use of a concept maps.
    The article recommends that teachers use a short list of 8 to 12 terms in an open-end construction of a concept map activity. Students should be allow to create a rough draft were they can redraw and revise their concept maps. The key to assessing a concept map is the propositions that are used to link one concept to another.
    The article pointed out that the more complex a map is the more proficient are the students and the maps that show simple structures are of students that are less proficient. The concept map I choice was somewhat complex in my opinion. It started out simple but toward the middle start to get complex.
    The existence of the most important proportions is an indicator of whether the student understood or missed the key concept of the topic. In the concept map that I choice it seemed that the students had a good understanding of the key concept of the topic.
    The quality of the propositions is the term which is used to link two concepts. However in order to determine at what level the concept is being understood the article has a sample of a four-level rubric that was used to assess the quality of the propositions.
    The concept map I used to create my four-level rubric was “Roots”.
    0- Roots are all the same.
    1- Roots are under ground.
    2- Roots can be classified by types and have functions.
    3- Roots have functions such as to draw, in minerals and water, store food, and anchor plant to the ground. Roots are also classified by prop roots which are above ground, fibrous roots that are thread like, and tap roots that are deep pointed tubes.
    I found it a little difficult to develop a rubric that would be able to assess the quality of all the propositions.
    One issue that I can see is that creating a rubric for concept maps can be time consuming. The article recommends using a three level scoring 0= wrong, 1= partially correct or scientifically thin, 2= scientifically correct. This could be a way around the time needed to assess the maps. The article also suggests color- coding the propositions by match colors to the rubric. This may be a quicker way to visually see the level of understanding the students has.
    Another issue may be that there are different ways to create concept maps and it may be difficult to review the information if students are not giving a specific format.
    I believe that concepts maps are a good way for teacher to assess students understanding.

  8. Concept maps are useful especially when participating in a brainstorming session or when evaluating performance assessments in the classroom. They are a great tool with advantages which include: visual symbols are quickly and easily recognized; there is minimum use of text (makes it easy to identify the general idea; and visual representation allows for development of a holistic understanding that words alone cannot convey.
    When I reviewed the article “Using concept maps in the Science classroom”, I decided to develop a rubric on the 10 systems in the human body concept map activity. I thought that if I was to implement this concept map in the classroom, I would employ the articles’ recommendations which states; have students create their own concept maps, review the concept maps in small groups, then discuss as an entire class. My take on this is that this recommendation is essential because it provides students an opportunity to be involved in scientific reasoning. Students also have a chance to exchange ideas and work together in groups.

    The rubric that I develop would expect students to have an understanding of how organ systems function and their interrelationships in the entire body. The rubric would range from 0-3.

    0- Organ systems are made of cells and tissues (does not show the relationship)

    1- Organs are part of the organ system (does not show complete relationship)

    2- Organ systems are divided into 10 systems (integumentary, reproductive, digestive, excretory, circulatory, endocrine, respiratory, muscular, nervous, and skeletal) (shows partial understanding)

    3- Organs systems are divided into ten systems, and have five functions, and their organization starts from cells-tissues-organs-organ systems (shows complete understanding of the organ system from the cellular level)

    I chose this concept map because I found it to be complex and the layout of the propositions are well outlined (they show the link/connection) between key terms (concepts).

    However, some issues which I encountered when developing the rubric and reviewing the concept map include: it is a time consuming process which I believe is experienced by students and teachers and I think if I was to use this strategy, I should be very strategic. It is also difficult to show relationships without making the map very messy and hard to read. The map was hard to read during my initial review. Another issue that came up as I did this assignment was that the maps do not allow for integration of all data and the relationship among data.

  9. The topic I picked for propositional concept mapping was Light. Using the assessment guidelines from the article, I have developed a rubric evaluating the students‘ graphical representation of the main idea, “what is light“ and “how does light behave?” I believe that this activity can be assigned to a fifth grade class without a pre-defined, fill in the blank map structure as long as the teacher believes she has extensively addressed each the concepts.

    4 = The concept map is neat and easy to follow. The main idea is “what is light and how does light behave?” Important propositions are included, understandable and reflect main idea. Propositions are well-developed and scientifically correct. Student has included all of the following concepts: light, electromagnetic radiation, wave, wavelength, color (invisible and visible), range of electromagnetic spectrum, matter, reflected light, refracted light, and absorbed light.

    3 = The concept map is somewhat neat and easy to follow. The main idea is “what is light and how does light behave?” Important propositions are included, understandable and reflect main idea. Propositions are correct, but not well-developed. Student has included most of the following concepts: light, electromagnetic radiation, wave, wavelength, color (invisible and visible), range of electromagnetic spectrum, matter, reflected light, refracted light, and absorbed light.

    2 = The concept map is messy and hard to follow. The main idea of “what is light and how does light behave?” is not clearly shown. Some propositions do not reflect main idea. Important propositions are missing and/or partially incorrect. Student has not included many of the following concepts: light, electromagnetic radiation, wave, wavelength, color (invisible and visible), range of electromagnetic spectrum, matter, reflected light, refracted light, and absorbed light.

    1 = The concept map is messy and unorganized. The main idea is “what is light and how does light behave?” is not represented. Propositions are incorrect and do not reflect the main idea. Student has not included most of the following concepts: light, electromagnetic radiation, wave, wavelength, color (invisible and visible), range of electromagnetic spectrum, matter, reflected light, refracted light, and absorbed light.

    I’ve seen concept maps used in representing life cycles of living organisms from butterflies to apple trees. I’ve also seen upper grade textbooks employ concept maps, which contain partial information and blanks to be filled in by the students. I think that issues might arise in using concept maps if the student is not able to express concepts in a manageable way. The activity of building a concept map must be developmentally appropriate. That is, a concept map that contains too many key terms would not be developmentally appropriate for a first grade class.

  10. The information gathered from the article “Using Concept Maps in the Science Classroom” provides a detailed and rich presentation of the importance of concept maps in a student’s curriculum. As indicated in the article, concept maps are used not only in science classrooms, but in English classes as well, or as what I remember as being called ‘brainstorming’. This article is clear in its description of how beneficial concept maps are for students who have the opportunity to create and work with them. Concept maps are also helpful for teachers to determine the level of understanding in their students. Concept maps are a unique and fun way for students to gather key words that are related to a scientific idea and draw out its relationships.
    A major factor that is crucial in a student’s learning process is the relationship between the words and its connecting ideas. The proposition process is an important one because this is what the student will absorb and take with them for future learning. It is through a fun activity like a concept map, that will enable them to remember very important information such as this process. In many subjects besides science, it is usually the relationship, or the connection behind two theories that is a significant part because that is where many students have trouble, connecting theories together. This is something that students will have to do throughout their entire lives, so remembering a concept map and its procedures can take them a long way.
    This process not only sharpens students’ thinking skills, but it also allows them to collect more information the more times they create a concept map. It is through a repetition process that not only strengthens the students’ capabilities in this activity, but allows them to think further each time, resulting in the collecting of more information.
    This concept map concept can also be considered another tool in how teachers can evaluate their students’ progress. It is through finding how tight of the connections are in their maps, how relevant each word is with the next, and how correct the relationships are between the concepts, are some ways a teacher can grasp an idea as to how the students are learning, and the areas that the teacher might need to focus more attention on.
    The rubric methods from the article all include helpful and meaningful ways to evaluate how the students are progressing with their concept maps, but more importantly, the propositions between the key words and concepts.
    The rubric I chose to use was the four-level one that explains a little more in-depth as to where the student’s placement is as far as their understanding of the subject matter. The concept map I will use this rubric on is discussing the Five Senses:
    0-Cannot list all five senses.
    1-Can list the five senses but cannot list the body parts related to their senses.
    2-Can list some of the body parts related to the senses but cannot indicate further which messages are related to which body part (For example, color and light are recognized by vision, which comes from the eyes).
    3-Can successfully describe the five senses, the relationship to each body part, the types of messages to the brain from each body part and what characteristics connect to which message (For example, the sweet smell of flowers or the unpleasant smell of a garbage can is related to odors, which are messages to the brain that are given from the nose).
    For the concept map I have chosen, the Five Senses, the students can organize this information in possibly a simpler format. This concept map is quite detailed and structured in a strongly interconnected layout. As described in the article, most concept maps that are drawn by beginners, usually consist of linear, circular or tree with branches type of maps. However, the map I chose describing the Five Senses, would fit more into the category of Network. As the main idea is illustrated at the top of the map, it quickly spreads out evenly around the entire page, with lines and boxes in all different directions, showing propositions vertically and horizontally.
    For this concept map, in regards to the existence of the most important propositions, it is clear and evident the relationships between: the five senses and each body part, the body part and the messages it sends to the brain, and even the types of messages such as tastes, which come from taste buds, which are on the tongue which can distinguish a taste like salty or sweet.
    The quality of propositions for the concept map I have chosen is a high quality. The words and relationships are strongly bonded with one another and are clear. The five senses all come from a different body part, which all help us do different things. The key terms and phrases on this map are very direct, almost illustrating that there isn’t any other correct way to describe the relationships on the map.
    The issues that may occur with using concept maps is that students may at first be confused as to which topic(s) the teacher wants them to brainstorm on. One of, if not the most important factor is the proposition, the link between the words, this is where students might have the most difficulty as far as which words can best fit each relationship, which words will hold a stronger bond between the concepts. Students might also have trouble doing these concept maps on their own, and will probably find it easier to accomplish if they are working in groups.
    Concept maps in general are beneficial for both the student and teacher. For students, it provides a fun, unique and different way to learn and connect concepts. This allows students to usually work in groups and the more they use concept maps, the further their thinking skills can grow. For teachers it provides insight as to the progress and level of understanding of their students and supplies feedback as to what teachers can do to improve their lessons to ensure more students will understand each concept.

  11. Concepts maps are a great way for students to strengthen their organizational and relationship skills. With concept maps, students are able to better relate new information to what they already know so that it becomes easier to remember and use it in the future.

    The article “Using Concept Maps in the Classroom” is a great resource that any teacher can use. It lists the benefits of concept maps for both students and teachers. The guidelines the article lists are great for any teacher who is planning to add a concept map activity to a lesson. I also liked the student concept maps examples. While seeing a concept map created by a teacher is helpful, seeing one created by a student allows you to see inside the children’s thinking. This allows the teacher to assess whether more time needs to be spent on a particular topic.

    The article suggests that a four phase rubric be used when examining the connections and propositions used in a concept map. The topic and concept map I chose was tides. The rubric I developed is below:

    0-Student does not distinguish between the two types of tides
    1-Student identifies the two types of tides but does not understand these types are produced by the gravitational pulls of the sun and moon
    2-Student identifies the two types of tides produced by the gravitational pulls of the sun and moon but doesn’t see these tides cause more tides
    3-Student identifies the two types of tides produced by the gravitational pulls of the sun and moon and identifies the four other types of tides that are produced by ocean bulges and differences in water levels

    One issue that I can see arising is the fact that the teacher may not know the concept herself, in this case the concept of tides. I have to admit that I knew of lunar and solar tides and high and low tides. I had heard of neap and spring tides but I didn’t know how they were produced. In a case like this, the teacher would have to do her research on the topic prior to teaching her students the concept. It would also be beneficial if the teacher drew out the concept map before teaching kids how to do it.

    Another issue is making sure the correct propositions are used in the example you model for the students. If you don’t choose the correct propositions, then the concept map may not make sense to the students. The ability to choose high quality propositions is important to the students overall understanding of the concept map and concept.

    Overall, concept maps are an effective tool for students and teachers in an outside of the classroom.

  12. Last week in class was the first time I used a concept map. It was harder than it looked. My group chose the sun. There are so many things we knew about the sun, yet we couldn’t figure how to incorporate it all. We really had to think about the key terms and their connections. It took us some time, but once we started it all came together. Even though we really had to think about the concept and its connectors, I felt it truly tested my knowledge.
    After reading the article, I agreed that concept maps are a great way to monitor students understanding of a concept. Students get to connect concepts with either a word or phrase to show their relationship. I also liked the idea to have the students create their own concept map at first. It allows them to organize, connect, and make sense of the new ideas and their prior knowledge of the concept. Working alone at first has them really thinking. Then the teacher would review the concept maps in small groups and then have a discussion with the whole class.
    The “complexity of maps” is a very formative way of checking if a concept map is complex or simple. The concept map I chose on our solar system is a simple tree structure. The concept map consisted of about 10 key terms. There is the “existence of the most important propositions”. These would be the main ideas or key terms. If the students had missed these propositions, than they did not understand the concept and its connection to the other terms. As for the “quality of the propositions” on the concept map I would create a four level rubric. The rubric would consist of:
    0 – The solar system would only include the sun.
    1 – The solar system would include the sun and moon.
    2 – The solar system would include the sun as a star and the moon.
    3 – The solar system would include the sun as a star, the moon, the planets and its gravitational pull to the sun.
    4 – The concept map would include the sun as a star, the moon, the planets (naming the inner, minor, and outer) and their moons and their gravitational pull to the sun.
    Some issues that may arise in using concept maps are with the key terms. I believe that it would be easier for the student to have the key terms available to them and have them form the word or phrase between them in any structure, simple or complex. Another issue for me was during this exercise with the rubrics. I was unsure how I wanted to evaluate the student. I knew that the zero was when the student made no connection, however one to three seemed to overlap. I was unsure what to place more importance on. I did enjoy this exercise and hope to one day incorporate it into my classroom.

  13. Concept maps are a great tool to be use in the classroom, to assess student’s conceptual knowledge. It has been recommended to be used before, during an after an activity to show how well a student have grasp the concepts taught, it allows students to understand complex information at- a –glance. This will be relatively easier for a student to understand a concept that has been presented in a visual format. It is also an excellent aid for a group project, as students work together; they learn from each other, in transferring their knowledge and understanding and resolve each others misconceptions.

    The concept map I choose is matter and below is a rubric I have created to evaluate this concept map.

    • 0 – the map does not show any relation between the states of matter and its properties
    • 1 – The map shows the connection between two properties of matter.
    • 2 – The map identifies the physical and chemical changes of matter.
    • 3 – The map shows the three states of matter and its properties.

    Students, who are more knowledgeable on a particular concept, may develop a more complex concept map, while other students just learning the method may develop a simpler map. However, I believe that when asked to develop a concept map, students should develop a detailed, accurate and meaningful concept map, that is easy to read and understand, not one that will stray away from what the subject is based on.
    There are different ways in constructing a concept map, and if students are not given the instruction to construct it properly, it will be difficult for them to formulate. Especially if they are doing it for the very first time. The concept map that I have looked at is somewhat simple and complex to an extent, simple for students that are more advanced in the subject area, but complex for those who are just learning the material. Because even though the states and properties of matter are presented, the map does not show any important preposition such as the characteristics or how they are interrelated, and this I believe would be complicated for a student to understand. The map should have consisted of simple and important facts that are straightforward and meaningful, this is one thing that teachers need to instill in the minds of their students that the prepositions of their concept map should be scientifically correct with precise information laid for them to clearly interpret and understand. This will further illustrate to the teacher that they have grasp the material and are able to organize, connect and synthesize the information in a meaningful form.

  14. I think that concept maps are an excellent way to get students to organize their own thinking about relationships between important concepts. As the school year progresses, and lessons seem to be a big, confusing mess, and the students need a way to make sense of it all. Concept maps do just that and in a fun creative manner. Giving students the freedom to design their own maps with the concepts the teacher has given them is a great productive assignment. It gives students a chance to make connections between information they already know and new information they are confused with. These concept maps help them visualize the relationships between concepts.

    Last week’s class was the first time I had ever been introduced to concept maps and I thought the technique was amazing. It is so simple, but can help students in so many ways. It can organize thoughts for a writing assignment or just help teach new information in any subject area. It can also become a art project if the students decide to decorate them or make them unique based upon the concepts being studied.

    The concept map I chose to look closer at was the one on seeds. It is a very complex concept map in that it shows the student has a clear understanding of what a seed is, its parts, reproduction of plants, how seeds become plants, and that seeds can be a food source, which I thought was the most interesting part of the map. The rubric I have chosen to assess this map is as follows:

    0 – Seeds and the actual plant are the same thing, no understanding of where seeds come from and how they grow.

    1 – Seeds have different parts that are important, but doesn’t understand what each part does and how they relate to each other.

    2 – Seeds have different parts, each has a specific function for survival. We can eat seeds, but there is no understanding of how seeds grow into plants.

    3 – Students understand that seeds grow with some vital components, seeds have important parts that help it survive, and seeds can be transported by a couple of different factors. The students shows complete understanding of seeds and expresses thoughts thoroughly in the concept map.

    The main disadvantage of using the concept maps is the time it will take to teach the technique itself. Creating a concept map may be difficult for many students to understand and could take time for them to learn how to create one effectively. So, by the time the teacher teaches the strategy and the students learn how to create one by themselves some valuable class time could be lost.

  15. Concept Maps are a great tool for organizing and representing a students’ understanding by encouraging thinking and assessing knowledge. They are used to sort out information either during or after a lesson in order to help children clarify, relate and group ideas about a topic. Teachers have begun using this concept map because it is an accurate way to examine how well a student is picking up on a topic by observing their visual work.

    The article, “Using Concept Maps in the Science Classroom” is a great guide for teachers introducing concept maps into their classroom. I thought the article gave a good example of how to begin concept maps with your students. I liked the part in the article where they recommended that students create a rough draft first so they have the chance to revise and redraw their maps. By doing this, children have the opportunity to cross out and make any changes needed before they create their good copy.

    The topic I chose to focus on for my concept map rubric is matter.
    As in the article, to examine the quality of propositions a four level rubric was made. The rubric I came up with is:

    0- Doesn’t show the connection of matter to a solid, liquid and gas. Matter is all the same regardless if it is a liquid, gas or solid. Map is inappropriately structured; thinking is unclear and very difficult to understand.

    1- The connection of matter to a solid, liquid and gas is present but not very clear. Matter is different but can only be experienced in one way. Map shows some thinking about the relationship of matter but not very distinctive and moderately unclear.

    2- The relative importance of a solid, liquid and gas are clearly indicated. Map shows effective thinking about the meaningful relationships between the forms of solids, liquids and gases and what they are composed of. Information is presented and effectively mapped to allow for a basic level of understanding.

    3-Map shows complex thinking about the meaningful relation between the forms of solids, liquids and gases and what they are composed of. Very complete and clear pictures of ideas are present. Information is effectively mapped to allow for a good level of understanding.

    An issue I think that may arise when using concept maps in the classroom is students being confused as to how the ideas are related to one another. When constructing a concept map it is crucial to help children recognize that all concepts are related to one another in some way. This could be a concern if there is an absence of a link because it shows that the student did not see the relationship between the ideas present. If the learner is unclear about the particular topic in the center of their paper they will have a lot of trouble elaborating on that key concept. As teachers, we need to show children that the construction of concept maps is a way to pull together information we already know about a subject and just expand on it.

    Overall, concept maps are a great way to create a visual representation of what students learned as well as a way for teachers to measure the level of understanding they gained from that topic. I would definitely integrate this into my curriculum because it could benefit me in my planning as a future educator. This helps teachers to assess children’s conceptual development and understanding, recognize misconceptions and ease learning by building new knowledge on old knowledge.

  16. As a teacher, I have used concept maps during SS lessons, Reading lessons, and LA lessons. Concept maps are very helpful because they get students to organize their thoughts, and express their points of view on any given topic. They are also a great way to assess what your students are understanding during a specific topic. This is way I am not surprised that teacher use concept maps during science class.

    In order to assess a concept map that your students have created, you should set up a rubric so they know what they are being assessed on. The rubrics must clearly state what is expected of them. The following rubric was created to evaluate the solar system concept map.

    4: There are no grammatical errors, each section has some clear ideas, all facts are accurate, the question was answered correctly, outside information was used, and it included graphics.

    3: There are few grammatical errors, most sections have clear ideas, most facts are accurate, the question was partially answered correctly, little outside information was used, and it included some graphics.

    2: There are several grammatical errors, few sections have clear ideas, few facts are accurate, the questions was not answered correctly, no outside information was used, and it included a few graphics.

    1: There are many grammatical errors, none of the sections have clear ideas, none of the facts are accurate, the question was not answered correctly, no outside information was used, and it included few or no graphics.

    The only issue that may come up is the lack of time. If this occurs, a teacher could allow the students to take the concept map home to complete it.

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